On my latest trip to the co-op I decided on an herb that smelled good and seemed like it would make a soothing tea.
So, what looks like a dandelion but is named after the hooves of a baby horse? The cute little herb Coltsfoot! You may see these flowers growing in open fields or wooded areas while hiking and mistake them for the more common dandelion and they are quite similar - but looking at their leaves you will see that coltsfoot has heart-shaped leaves and the dandelion long, thin very toothed leaves (which pet rabbits love to eat like spaghetti by the way but that is a whole other story).
Many people have been known to eat dandelions, but more often coltsfoot is used as an herbal decongestant to combat phelgm and relieve coughing and even bronchitis. The above-ground
portion of the herb: flowers, leaves, stalk,can be dried and steeped as tea, which is how I plan to use the herb that I purchased from our co-op this weekend.
You can make a tincture from coltsfoot by chopping it and placing it in a jar, then covering it with vodka. Steep for 6 weeks, strain leftover plant matter and save the liquid. That is your tincture!
From my Encyclopedia of Magical Plants I also found that coltsfoot is relaxing when burned as an incense, producing a sense of calm and peace. For love, people would sprinkle a bit of dried coltsfoot outside their home to attract a mate.
The adventures of the would-be kitchen witch continue! LOL. Today, while in the co-op, I spied a big glass jar with the words "horse chestnut" on it. I
will have to post pics of our co-op at some point. Lovely place. Jar upon jar upon jar from floor to ceiling in one aisle. In the opposite one there are
these tall containers with granola, nuts, dried fruit...you just push a lever
and out they come! I realize this stuff is probably all standard in places like
this but it fascinates me and I love the smells of all the herbs and food and
the store is tiny. I mean it is three rows deep with as much as could be crammed in them as possible. Then in the front of the store there are soaps and incense and hippy clothes and books and... It is the kind of place that makes me want to stop shaving my pits and wear only Jesus sandals on my feet. HA HA
Anyway, the horse chestnut. I should have horse chestnut right? I mean, it just sounds cool. So, I grab my little bag and scoop some in there. Surely I can do something magical or even mundane with such a cool sounding thing.
Horse Chestnut - Real Name: aesculus hippocastanum.
Horse chestnut is a plant. Its seed, bark, flower, and leaves are used to make medicine. Horse chestnut contains significant amounts of a poison called esculin and can cause death if eaten raw.
Oh. OK, so there goes the possibility of horse chestnut tea right? Whatev that sounds gross anyway.
Horse chestnut seed and leaf are used for treating varicose veins, hemorrhoids, and swollen veins (phlebitis).
Horse chestnut seed is used for diarrhea, fever, and enlarged prostate. Horse chestnut seeds can be processed so that the active chemicals are separated out and concentrated. The resulting “extract” is used for treating a blood circulation problem called chronic venous insufficiency. Horse chestnut leaf is
used for eczema, menstrual pain, soft tissue swelling from bone fracture and sprains, cough, arthritis, and joint pain. Horse chestnut branch bark is used for malaria and dysentery. Some people apply horse chestnut branch bark to the skin for lupus and skin ulcers.
Hmmmmm...process and separate the active chemicals. Where is Walter Bishop when I need him in my kitchen?
SOURCE 1: Associated with money and healing, horse chestnut is carried to help ward off backaches and chills. The nuts of this herb are also known as buckeye, (not to be confused with the Ohio buckeye tree - that is something completely different), place a nut into a charm to be carried to attract money.
Horse chestnut is also carried to bring success in all things.
SOURCE 2: Horse Chestnut – (TOXIC) healing, money.
SOURCE 3: Buckeye ~ Botanical name: Aseculus hippocastanum. Common name: Horse chestnut. Planet: Jupiter. Magickal properties: Attracts money, luck; wards off aches & pain.
OK, I get it. Can make you rich and heal you. Or kill you.
So, my uses for my impulse purchase will need to be revamped. However, I stumbled on something the day I purchases this item. First, this became a new way for me to incorporate my herbal goals into my life! Walk in to the co-op and see what speaks to me that particular day! Which herb, root or flower wants to come home with me and teach me something? I must say it is fun. Bringing something home I know nothing about and then digging into my books and the WWW and finding out exactly what I had gotten myself into. Second and related, I get this stuff home right? I should do something with it. It could lead to finding uses for stuff and therefore getting busy about being magical or at least just earthy.
And this week's prize for the random poisonous substance that Gilly thought would be cool to bring home goes to.......Bloodroot! LOL. In the co-op this morning. Hmm....I think....what is speaking to me today? What do I want to grab some of and learn about. A red powder caught my eye. My my that is pretty...
I read the label. Blood Root Powder. Oh, that sounds interesting I wonder what I can do with that? And so home it comes. So, I enter the Intervserse and see what comes up. My first click gets: Specific Warnings: DO NOT INGEST THIS HERB! Bloodroot has an emetic effect in dosages above 0.03 g. Internal overdoes can cause vomiting, diarrhea, intestinal colic, possible collapse, and possible death. Just because you see this listed as a plaque inhibitor and read that it is used in mouthwash and toothpaste - DOES NOT make it safe to experiment with. Oh dear. I've done it again.
How come I keep bringing home poisonous stuff? Is the Universe trying to tell me something?
LOL. But, just because one cannot ingest Bloodroot doesn't mean there are not
magical uses. A little history:
Real name - Sanguinaria. Grows on hills and mountains and the juice from the root is red in color, leading of course to the name Bloodroot. A picture of the root is below. Native American were known to use the juice as a body paint and dye. Also used as a love charm in which men would place juice of the root on
their palm and then attempt to shake hands with the maiden they most wanted. In several days she supposedly would agree to wed the man using the charm. In the modern medical era, the juice is warned to cause possible tissue damage so putting it on one's skin would not be advisable.
Native Americans and natural practitioners have used Bloodroot for things like skin conditions - things like destroying warts, polyps, even ringworm. Current research is investigating the use of Bloodroot in cancer treatment. An extract of Bloodroot been used in toothpaste and mouthwash to fight plaque and
gingivitis for years. But, again, it is advised to not experiment with individually due to the fact that it is, well, poisonous.
Magically ~ this straight from Witchipedia ~ Bloodroot is a popular protective hex-breaker in Voodoo and Rootwork magic. Yeah for roots, stones and bones! Love ya New World Witchery ;) - also a marriage protector and aids in promoting harmony with extended family members, especially in-laws and
helps prevent people from interfering in your marriage.
Other magical uses include putting the root in sachets and using them as an encouragement for a healthy sex life by putting the sachet under your mattress. LOL. People used to steep the roots in liquor for weeks and then drink the liquor in shots to stay desirable and potent. LOL again. People sprinkled
Bloodroot around the threshold of their homes to promote respect from those who enter. Bloodroot seems to be a commonly used protector of relationships. Sort of a shield against negative energy or people that would try to muck up your love life. It is also used as a general protection when placed around the home.
You can burn it to clear negative energy too. Witchipedia also suggests that so long as you aren't going to eat it or rub it on your body, Bloodroot can be used in place of blood in spells. Dried Bloodroot can be pounded into powder and added to water to reach the desired consistency or you can just use the powder
like I got, add water and do the same thing.